Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blogging Boundaries

"It is never okay to let your time in online communities take away from precious (irreplaceable) time from the people God has entrusted to your care." -@StickyJesus p. 109
"Online relationships will never replace the power of face-to-face fellowship with other believers." -p. 109
This past week my real life and online worlds collided.  While at Blissdom, I was able to meet and connect with bloggers I've long admired and those I'd just met.  In fact, I was even able to meet the lovely authors of @StickyJesus: Tami Heim and Toni Birdsong.  I didn't realize they were even attending until a lunch companion rushed back with what she proclaimed to be the coolest business card.   Well, @StickyJesus@stickyJesus: how to live out your faith online could only refer to two ladies that I knew of so I went over to say hi.  What a lovely small world moment amidst a sea of 700 bloggers!

Blogging conferences blur the rules. The time we've spent logging on developing relationships with strangers suddenly pays off when you meet face to face. You're with people who understand your time composing posts and responding to comments. It doesn't matter if your laptop is open or you Tweet from your phone during this type of conference- in fact, it's expected! 

My roommate asked a bunch of us a question: how many blog posts do you read from start to finish every day?  Most people said 0, which floored me.  How can we expect people to read our blog if we're not reading theirs?  Some day are busier than others, I know, but I believe that a good blogger is also a good blog reader.

Still, I added this question to my arsenal of things to ponder when it comes to my time online.  How much time online is too much?  Are the blogs I'm reading beneficial to me? Could I be spending my time another way?

Because my job can be stressful, I enjoy reading the newspaper, completing the crossword puzzle, and reading blogs after work.  All three are excellent at helping me unwind.  However, this takes up a lot of time and if I have evening plans, something has to be sacrificed.  Add time spent composing posts for my own blog and I've realized that some fine-tuning is necessary.

I'm not giving up my blogger friends.  Some of them have become real life friends and others have been incredibly encouraging over email and Twitter.  To me, it's worth putting some time and energy into these relationships.

However, I can cut back on the number of blogs that I follow on a daily basis.  I can be fully present when I'm with friends instead of thinking about how to caption the evening for Facebook.  I can prioritize the projects I need to tend to and let blogging take a back seat for awhile.

There's a balance between my life and my blogging.  @StickyJesus is helping me figure that balance out.

This post was written for the @StickyJesus Read-Along hosted by Michelle Sarabia.

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon from HopefulLeigh, any purchase you make supports this site.

6 comments:

  1. i've recently made the commitment to read both one chapter of the Bible and one chapter of a regular book A DAY. that way i know i'm not sacrificing what's important while playing online.

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  2. "My roommate asked a bunch of us a question: how many blog posts do you read from start to finish every day? Most people said 0"

    I find that statement hard to believe. So, do all those ladies blog to have their blogs to be read, yet they don't even read ONE other persons blog in a day? I don't see where that's right at all.

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  3. leigh,

    i have totally stepped into this, too. i've subscribed to way more blogs than i can afford to read in a day, so i put them in a file to read later (but haven't yet) and then just stick with the ones i definitely read every day. i'm going through and fine-tuning my list and even unsubscribing, which i hate to do because it hurts when i'm the one someone unsubscribes. the ones i definitely read every day always inspire or teach me something - or make me a better reader, thinker or writer -which can only make me a better person.

    {lord, please always make me teachable and open to learn and become a better version of myself. always, jesus. always.}

    and i am ALL ABOUT recycling blog-love. how can we expect anyone to follow us if we don't follow anyone? what makes me think what i have to say is SOOO important that i have nothing to gain from a fellow blogger -a real person with real experiences who either or are not, but are no less important, gifted writers. i don't follow everyone who follows me regularly, and i certainly don't think some of the ones i follow follow me at all. but, in life and in blogging, i'm all about the love. give to receive, but do so without expectation and open hearts, minds and hands. it always comes back - may not be reciprocated but god responds in other ways.

    i can't wait to hear more about what you learned at blissdom. so you know, leigh, my heart is sick i didn't have more time in nashville to see you. still looking forward to that day. :)

    xo

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  4. Leigh - meeting you at Blissdom was a true God moment and proof that divine connections happen online every day. AND that meeting face-to-face trumps weeks of typing solo in a room. You lit up my heart in a million ways as I struggled with week that threatened to gobble me up and spit me out.

    I'm grateful you've connected with the book and that your blogging provides a light in the storm to potentially thousands of people a day.

    Never grow weary, my friend. It matters. And, while few people will read an ENTIRE blog, when we are bold enough to put God's word out into the world, it's reach can not be calculated. Know that the Holy Spirit writes with you, oils the channels and finds its target. All we've got to do is show up and share . . . a little every day. :)

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  5. Wow. ZERO posts?

    I can never keep up with all the blogs that I want to read- not enough hours in the day. But, I still read some!

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  6. Leigh thanks for your insights on this, I agree and actually our sermon this weekend echoed some of these thoughts. What should my boundaries be with online community building, how much effort should I put into what, what are my limits, are they what they should be. These are questions I'm now asking myself, thank you for the encouragement to consider these! :)

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